Updated general plan ready for public review
January consultation last chance to speak up about proposed growth
Iqaluit residents will get one last chance to have their say on how the city should grow over the next 20 years.
In January, city council will ask Iqalungmiut for input in crafting Iqaluit’s general plan, a document that sets out where new houses, office buildings and businesses should be built in the next two decades. It also identifies areas of Iqaluit that should be designated for parks, recreation and traditional activities.
It will be the fourth time since May that city council has consulted the public on the plan.
“This is the last opportunity for the public to be involved,” said Chrystal Fuller, the City of Iqaluit’s director of planning and lands.
“What we’ll be looking for this time won’t be ‘How do you feel about the future of Iqaluit?’ It will be ‘What particular parts of this don’t you like and what’s your suggestion to change it?’”
Throughout its work to update the general plan, which is five years old, city council was criticized for not getting residents’ concerns and suggestions. Some, especially longtime residents, felt they no longer had a say in how Iqaluit was developing.
City council then directed the consultants working on the general plan to hold more workshops and meetings with a broad range of people. In July and again in October, the consultants met with elders, youth, building developers, government officials and longtime Inuit residents.
The comments gathered through those rounds of consultations are now included in a new draft of the general plan.
It’s this newer version that residents will get a chance to comment on in January. And people will notice some significant changes from the plan they saw in October.
For one, a waterfront area has been added. The aim of this section of town is to protect access to the water and sea ice, ensure the view of the bay isn’t blocked and to make sure areas for traditional activities are maintained.
Residents’ suggestion for the location of a new cemetery — on the west side of the Road to Nowhere — is also included in the plan.
Elders who attended earlier public meetings asked that traditional berry-picking and camping areas be protected from development. The consultants incorporated that into the new draft, suggesting that historical sites be identified throughout Iqaluit.
Residents’ comments about sea cans and metal siding have also made their way into the general plan. In the earlier draft, sea cans aren’t allowed in Iqaluit’s downtown core.
“Some felt they should be permitted, provided they are ‘fixed up.’ Others felt they should be prohibited everywhere,” the consultants say in a report to city council.
The new recommendation is to ban sea cans from the capital district, the commercial and institutional areas and in high residential areas, and permit them in the waterfront and places where there are few houses.
The earlier draft of the plan also called for a ban on using metal siding on buildings. But residents didn’t like that suggestion.
“It was pointed out in one comment that metal siding has been used extensively all around northern communities and that it is a practical building material,” the consultant’s report says.
Iqaluit residents can see a new version of the general plan on Jan. 13, during the public consultation.
The plan will then go to city council for final approval. It will likely be ready by April.